Can You Use The Same Solicitor to Buy and Sell?

Can a Solicitor Act For Me in Both My Sale and My Purchase?

Yes, of course!

However, it is more complicated where two parties ask the same solicitor to act on their behalf, when one of those parties is the buyer and the other party is the seller of the same property.

What is a Conflict of Interest Situation?

It’s where a solicitor is acting for two parties who have conflicting interests.

When Would This Apply, And Maybe be a Problem, in a Property Sale or Purchase?

A good example of this would be where a solicitor is asked to act for the seller and the buyer of the same property.

One of these parties wants to get the lowest price and the other wants to get the highest price.

In cases like this, Law Society of Scotland Rules prevent a solicitor from acting for parties on opposite sides of the transaction. However, there are exceptions and, in some circumstances, the solicitor may be able to act for both parties. This might apply where the solicitor makes the parties aware of the potential conflict of interest, the parties explicitly provide consent for the solicitor to act for both of them and the solicitor is satisfied that no conflict exists in the individual circumstances of the case.

This may be the case, for example, where a parent is transferring ownership of a property to a child.

If you have any questions about whether a conflict of interest may apply to your own case, please get in touch with us and our in-house conveyancing team will be delighted to provide guidance on this issue.


6 responses to “Can You Use The Same Solicitor to Buy and Sell?”

  1. Steve Lewis avatar
    Steve Lewis

    My older brother (80 yo) is moving to a retirement park
    I have agreed to buy his old house and have already supplied the cash (180k) to buy his new home.
    There are no conflicts , or mortgages.
    Surely one solicitor could do the transfer .

    1. Graeme MacKay avatar

      Hi Steve, I hope you are well. Thank you for taking the time to read the article and post a comment.

      The answer to your question is dependent on the transaction itself. There are situations where a solicitor can act for both parties, however, there are also good reasons why separate solicitors should be engaged, including one party lending money and wants a security. If you would like I can pass your details to one of our experienced solicitors to provide more detail.


  2. Gabriel Nowotarski avatar
    Gabriel Nowotarski

    Why would I use the same solicitor when I sell my house and buy another one? Will it save time and why? Thanks

    1. Graeme MacKay avatar

      Hi Gabriel, thanks for your question. The advantages include, there will be a good chance that you will have the same solicitor acting for you on both or with two colleagues, who work closely together, which will ensure that your interests are best protected, including the juggling aspects of ensuring that the transactions are progressed simultaneously. It also means that if you are completing your sale and purchase on the same day, delays sometimes caused by transferring funds between different sets of solicitors can be avoided. Using the same firm to carry out conveyancing work as well as estate agency work, has similar advantages, in terms of close communication between colleagues, which means that, should any legal issues arise, during the marketing process, expert legal advice is immediately on hand.

      I hope this makes sense.


  3. Susan avatar

    My tenant of 4 years wants to buy my rental. I had a full appraisal completed and made an offer to sell at a price. The tenant has agreed to the price. There is no negotiation,,all we need is an attorney to guide to sale process to be sure it is binding and legal…can we use the same attorney?

    1. Graeme MacKay avatar

      Hi Susan, thanks for your question.

      The general principle established by the Law Society of Scotland is that we cannot act in conveyancing transactions for both parties. There are some notable exceptions, including where the parties are related or are connected commercial entities but we are required to only act for one party in circumstances where we believe that a conflict of interest is likely or that there is even a risk of one occurring. While the parties here are landlord and tenant and have agreed to purchase/sell the property, this is a formal sale which will result in the creation of a contract through missives and as such there is a risk of disagreement or conflict throughout the process. As such the most we can able to do without the risk of a conflict of interest arising is to act for one party and recommend to the other party that they must seek any independent legal advice that they deem necessary and that we would not be in a position to offer any to them.

      Hopefully that helps, MOV8 Team.

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